President Barak Obama recently (in March) appointed Vivek Kundra as Chief Information Officer for the US government, a new position needed to bring US Government IT policies and spending under control. In addition to holding the purse strings for federal government spending, he is also responsible for directing technology development strategies (and hopefully national tech leadership strategies). President Obama announced the position with the statement "I have directed him to work to ensure that we are using the spirit of American innovation and the power of technology to improve performance and lower the cost of government operations."
In a recent speech at the Potomac Officer's Club in Washington DC, Kundra stated "for too long the federal government has had a self-image that it can't innovate - I reject that view." Kundra continued to emphasize "Technology investments for technology's sake are useless, we need to be where the people are." This includes closer government collaboration with the private sector, with a special focus on cloud computing.
One of the first steps the government is taking to support American companies working in cloud development and commercial cloud services is to assist in defining the concept of both cloud comuting, and cloud infrastructures. This task was given to the non-regulatory National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). While this might seem a bit pretentious on the side of the government, the reality is the US government is by far the largest user of Information Technology in the United States.